Essential summit info (for activators)
Target summit: YO/EC-537 "Bîtca Neagră" - www.sota.org.uk/Summit/YO/EC-537
Our Route: Easy route in the summer, medium in the winters. Track length 5km total (both ways), on and off trails. GPS track here: www.wandermap.net/en/route/3509790-bitca-neagra-sota-yoec-537-gps/ (or directly from the links below, in GPX or KML format).
Summit conditions: Forested, thicket, with a narrow trail on top. Still, there's enough room to set up.
We've left town at around 9:35 AM and got to Rarău at around 11:15 AM, where we've met with Adi, Tatiana, Cătălin, Ghiță and Silviu. Adi YO8AZQ and Tatiana YO8SST were coming with us, so we picked them up and drove to our trail's starting place, while Ghiță YO8SFS and Cătălin YO8SFF went on to activate Rarău (YO/EC-017).
The trail seemed easy at first, but the snow was very deep and we had no snowshoes. Sometimes I'd go up to my butt in snow. It wasn't powder either, so each new step meant breaking the crust, which, on half of the cases, wasn't strong enough to hold us. Whenever we encountered this type of conditions we struggled badly, sweat dripping all over us. Luckily there were about three sections with the stuff, while the rest of the way had easier medium-deep snow. Adi and Tatiana started later, to allow us to gain some distance, so they could chase us from the trail below once we reached the top. We used the snow to convey messages to them, such as the direction and time. Later they would call us and tell us how far behind they were.
Once at the top, after a final stretch of deep snow and steep gradient, we broken the crust and laid the tent sheet. Setting up took a bit longer, the space was crammed. We started in 70cm and made the S2S contacts with the guys from Rarău, then switched to 2m where we talked to Sebi YO8SSH and Corneliu YO8SCV. After we could not hear any more stations we started working in 17m and 20m. Adi and Tatiana left first, while we stayed behind and called for another 30 minutes or so.
The cold and the apparent bad radio conditions made us pack up after about 1 hour. Compared to last time, only a fraction of contacts could be made today. The hike on the way back was much easier since the path was already trodden.
Thank you for reading & chasing us!
Essential summit info (for activators)
Target summit: YO/EC-542 "Alunisul" - http://www.sota.org.uk/Summit/YO/EC-542
Our Route: Easy to moderate trail and gradient. Short, about 2.4 km from bottom to top. Trail starts at the top of the Puzdra pass, on a dirt road. It gets steeper in the midsection. We spotted bear tracks. GPS recorded track here: http://www.wandermap.net/en/route/3508205-alunisul-yoec-542-gps/ .
Summit conditions: Forested, but there's a glade very near, in the SOTA activity radius.
We've left the town quite late, at around 10:30 local time. In lower areas it was raining. Gloomy all around. As we got closer to the summit the rain turned to light snow, which was better. Once on foot, we took a tourist path from the Puzdra pass. The trail is marked by a red band, which we followed for some time before "losing" it and then we had to climb directly on a steep, icy incline. We've found some bear tracks in the snow, with the claw marks clearly visible. Snow conditions were widely variable. In some areas the snow was waist deep, but with a crust that held our weight, while in other areas (shaded), the crust was not present. Because of the "heat waves", snow melted completely in some areas, but then the water turned to ice, which was hidden well by a layer of vegetation.
On the summit things went pretty well. First we made a few contacts in 2m and in 70cm, then we switched to 17m and later to 20m. Our hiking buddies made a nice fire and we had a quick snack and some tea (made from snow). This day, despite mediocre propagation and some massive QRM, was the most prolific QSO-wise. We've made more than 100 contacts between us in an activation that spanned almost 2 hours (with some breaks for changing the antennas, ops and stuff). On the way back we chose another route which was slightly better than the one we took on the ascent (the GPS track shows this return trail).
A big thanks to all chasers and to our tea-making buddies!
Essential summit info for activators
Target summit: YO/EC-572 "Chicera Neagră" - www.sota.org.uk/Summit/YO/EC-572
Our Route: Easy to moderate trail and gradient. Short, about 2.4 km from bottom to top. We chose to climb right through the middle of the creek, which was frozen solid. On the upper half we continued on a logging dirt road which was very steep, but dry and without snow. This trail is probably very muddy in other seasons. The GPS recorded track can be seen and downloaded here: www.wandermap.net/en/route/3507560-chicera-neagra-yoec-572-gps/ .
Summit conditions: Open, but the treeline is very close, at some 20 meters. Many fences, but with the gates open (actually there were no gates at all, just wide spaces left without any barrier). Expect dogs, cows, sheep in the summer.
For today's summit we were undecided. Yesterday the temperature was around -7 degrees Celsius at noon. The weather reports for Sunday seemed decent, so Saturday evening we thought to give it a go. We looked at two other summits before settling on Chicera Neagra (Black Peak).
It was cloudy and gloomy as we left home around 9:30 AM. Nearing the mountains the mist got thinner and later it finally gave way to a very sunny day. It was cold, though, and most of the climb was in shade. The trail we initially chose was a few tens of meters to the left of where we ended up walking, the middle of the creek. It was frozen solid and, despite being very slippery, it provided the best route to the top. Probably during warmer months it wouldn't be wise to walk through there, but today was pretty OK. About halfway up we lost the creek and instead went ahead on a very steep dirt road. The final stretch, no more than 200 meters, we climbed on very deep snow, but with a crust that gave way only a couple of times.
At the top we chose a spot near a barn. It was sunny and quite pleasant when the wind didn't blow. After setting up we started calling in 2m and 70cm. We logged only a few QSOs, so we swtiched to 17m and spent half an hour there. Then we rewired the antenna for 20m and spent another 40 mins at the station before turning it off and calling it a day. We managed to make about 76 contacts between us and one S2S with a ham in Norway.
A big thanks to all our chasers! 73!
Essential summit info
Target summit: YO/EC-476 "Batca" (also Bâtca or Bîtca) - http://www.sota.org.uk/Summit/YO/EC-476
Our Route: Moderate gradient with some short steep bits, 3.7km long (7.5km round trip), 450 meters altitude difference from bottom to top, trail goes through wooded and exposed areas. The trail starts near a stream which has to be crossed as is (there was no bridge of any kind). Probably the stream is very small in summer months and winters, but can considerably gain in size after storms or when snow melts. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but once on the pasture there are many sheepfolds and therefore lots of dogs. Plus fences all around. We had to avoid all the sheepfolds and fences through the left, near the treeline. Check the map and download the GPS track here: http://www.wandermap.net/en/route/3506792-batca-sota-yoec-476/ .
Summit conditions: Open, but very close to the treeline (you can set up and activate from the woods if you prefer). It has a large bench and a fireplace which are very convenient for the activation (check the pics below).
Today the temperature was well above zero and all the snow was melting away. It was foggy and raining when we left home, but the weather improved as we neared the summit. At the bottom of the trail the weather was good, sunny, but the slush, mud and overflowing streams chipped away at our optimism. As we climbed up the snow disappeared almost completely. Found bear droppings in two places on the track (which is on a dirt road). Once out of the forest, a bunch of dogs approached us, barking. Two of them, quite large, "said" nothing and approached us more and more... until touching their large, wet noses to our hands, backpacks and clothes. I was pretty much at a loss. There were about 4 large dogs barking and 2 large dogs sniffing us at point blank range. :) We worried that the barking dogs might incite the other two. If they would bite, we had to act super-quick to limit the damage. After a while the two dogs lost interest and gained some distance. Then again they got very close, but seemed friendly. The others barked relentlessly. Walking in dog land we sidetracked a bit and realized we have to turn back to avoid some fences. As we turned back, the barking dogs followed us once again and wouldn't cease until we got well away from their territory. At the top we found a table, benches and a fireplace... and two young lads. They were shepherds, but from another pasture. We installed the equipment and started CQing, while Marian, a friend who came with us, made the fire. After we activated in 70cm, 2m, 20m and 17m bands, the rain started and we had to pack up. We pulled the potatoes from the fire and had a great snack before climbing down - again through dog land - and reaching the car. Check the pics below. The video will be available in a few days. Thanks for reading / watching / chasing! 73!
Hi, we're a team of hams from Romania. We're into SOTA and other activities. Thanks for stopping by!